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You Got Into Your Dream School. Your Bestie Didn’t. Here’s How To Celebrate Decision Day With Empathy

For most high school seniors, Decision Day marks the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. It is a day for high school seniors all around the country to celebrate picking which college they will attend. For my Decision Day, I remember setting up my own photo shoot in my backyard and having my parents take my pictures. It was a wonderful day for me as I was able to share my accomplishments with family and friends and connect with other students who will be attending the same university. 

However, for some, Decision Day can be full of dread, disappointment, and even envy. It can be hurtful to see one of your classmates get into a college that you didn’t get into. You may wonder what they have that you don’t, even if you two share similar GPAs, extracurriculars, and volunteer work. This is why it is important to show empathy to those during Decision Day. Decision Day can be hard for some and can create negative feelings such as self-doubt in those who have not been accepted into their dream school or any school at all.

So when you get into your dream school and your best friend doesn’t, what should you do and how do you show empathy for them? I spoke with Ezekiel Medina, a Wellness Coach at the University of Michigan’s Health Services, on how to navigate Decision Day while keeping your bestie’s feelings in mind. 

Getting rejected from your dream school isn’t the end of the world.

Rejection, even if it is from a school you are highly qualified for, is common in the process of applying to college. “The right people get denied from colleges all the time, it doesn’t make them less worthy in any way,” Medina tells Her Campus. Yes, rejection can be hard, especially if it is something you really want. However, college applicants have little to no control over the decision of the person reading their application. 

Once the college application is completed and submitted, it all lies in the hands of the admissions team to determine if you’re fit to enroll in that university. “It is important to realize that rejection is redirection and you must not dwell on things that are not in your control,” Medina says.

In friendships, communication is key to avoiding jealousy.

It may be a hard topic to address with your friend, but you must do it if you want to show empathy and keep your friendship intact. “Hard conversations suck, but they must happen to come to an understanding and know exactly how the other person feels,” Medina says. 

Find a time before Decision Day to have an honest conversation with your bestie. Sit them down and have a conversation about how you feel, and how you would want Decision Day to turn out. Medina gave me a few tips to help you with this conversation. “Wait for them to be in a relaxed state before starting the conversation,” he advises. “Try using a lot of ‘I’ and ‘my’ statements in your discussion, so they don’t feel accused.”

Don’t be afraid to celebrate your accomplishments.

Remember, Decision Day is a day where you can announce your accomplishment and the next chapter of your life, so it is important to celebrate it. Whether the conversation goes well with your bestie or not, your acceptance into your dream school is a huge thing and should be treated as so. “It isn’t easy or cheap to get into college, so you should be able to celebrate your success and your accolades,” Medina says.

You could also plan a joint celebration for you and your bestie where it is a celebration of completing high school, instead of a Decision Day party. This could be a simple get-together with friends and family or a fancy dinner where you and your bestie celebrate and support each other before heading into the next chapter of your lives. However, be sure that your best friend is comfortable with it — if they aren’t, a dinner date is just fine, too. 

As a reminder, Decision Day is one single moment in your journey, and your friendship. You should celebrate and cherish it as getting into college is a big achievement that should be recognized. It is very possible to celebrate getting into university while supporting and uplifting your bestie: Your accomplishment isn’t the lack of anyone else’s. 

My name is Aricka and I am a recent graduate from the University of Michigan. I enjoy writing articles about sex and relationships, mental health and books. On my free time, I enjoy playing video games, writing short stories and spending time with my family and pets. I also have hobbies like crochet, reading books and painting.